I discovered recently that I am irrelevant.
Probably some of you already suspected that. I guess I sorta knew it myself but hesitated to admit it out loud. It’s a hard thing to realize that you don’t matter anymore, that you have come to a point where your opinion makes little to no difference. It’s downright depressing if you dwell on it overlong. I will not. I will vent instead.
You see, I checked just last night via Google to discover when one of my favorite television shows will make its new season appearance. It won’t. Longmire, a well-written, well-acted series about a crusty Wyoming sheriff who has more integrity than politics, has been canned by A&E, even though it is one of the most-watched programs on that channel.
How does that make any sense? One would assume that a program’s popularity would be of significant benefit to a station looking to sell advertising spots to companies that need a hot property to carry their messages. Why do they conduct surveys to find out how many of us are tuned in to Two-and-a-Half Men or Big Brother if not to gauge how valuable those shows are for selling products?
Of course they use that data, and the information informs TV executives how much to charge for a 30-second spot and companies how valuable that spot might be to convince someone to buy their brand of toilet paper.
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The problem with Longmire is not its popularity. Powers that be at A&E don’t quibble about it being a popular show. Trouble is, it’s popular with the wrong demographic. Me. Apparently, Longmire is a favorite of those of us in our dotage—60 years and better. TV executives, whom I expect to be thirty-something business school graduates who assume—and probably, and sadly, correctly—that a younger, hipper audience spends more money and is more easily swayed by ridiculous TV advertising, choose programming that appeals to Generation X instead of Baby Boomers.
Artistry goes by the wayside, pushed into the gutter by rude dialogue that passes for humor, glitz that poses as entertainment and an adoration of the rich and famous but rarely talented (read Kardashians) that appeals to some viewers’ voyeuristic tendencies.
Perhaps I’m too nostalgic, recalling the early days of television and shows that relied on wit instead of sass, talent instead of sham.
Also I wonder if networks might not be making a mistake by ignoring us. We may not be a primetime target audience any longer but we still got some game. Many of us—not me but others of my advanced years—are contemplating or are already in retirement and will have time on their hands to shop. Many of us have fewer financial obligations than we did 30 years ago, so we may have a few extra shekels to play with.
We are still relevant. We still buy stuff. We need cars built for comfort, not for speed. We may be interested in those miracle drugs. (Get your minds out of the gutter, I’m referring to vitamins.) We may have time to travel, so tell us about senior cruises.
And we prefer the soft toilet paper.